Legal Question in Insurance Law in Oklahoma

Would a grown son who is borrowing a car from his parents be covered under the parents' personal liability umbrella policy? The son is a listed driver on the parents' auto insurance (State Farm). The son is not specifically listed on the umbrella policy (also State Farm). The son does not live with the parents.

If the son is at fault in an auto accident while driving the borrowed vehicle, and the accident results in the death of the other driver, would the parents' personal liability umbrella coverage come into play in the wrongful death settlement?

(This is not hypothetical. My father was the one killed in this situation.)

Asked on 7/01/11, 9:52 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Wayne Allison Allison Legal, LLC

First, I offer my condolences to you and your family.

Your question is well formed and one would hope it would be clear enough to provide an equally clear answer. Unfortunately, however, to arrive at the true answer is not simple and involves a legal review of the policies in force. There is the distinct possibility that the umbrella policy should come into play; however, the devil is in the details of the language.

Further, the answer will as well depend on both Oklahoma statute and and large body of case law developed that interprets various provisions of insurance contracts. Oklahoma insurance law is considerably complex, and insurance companies are notorious for interpreting their policies to avoid coverage, thereby often requiring legal action to get them to do what they should. As you may presume, the insurance company has likely already had lawyer(s) review the situation, and if you don't have a lawyer, they really have you at a significant disadvantage.

Although I'd like to give you a simple answer, unfortunately I believe the best course of action for you is to consult with an attorney experienced in such matters. Again, my condolences, as I recognize the situation is difficult enough without the foreseeable headache of dealing with insurance disputes.

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Answered on 7/01/11, 10:05 am

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